There was time in ‘cowboy society’ that as long as you weren’t robbing or bloodying someone or rustling another fellas livestock, no one really minded what you did. Simply stated, “your business ain’t none of my business.”
That’s all changed. At least with the Reno Rodeo it’s changed.
As I walked to the front gate with the hope of taking some pictures, I was politely stopped and asked if I were with the press. While I’m a citizen journalist, I’m no longer credentialed with any media organization.
Responding ‘no,’ they told me that I couldn’t take my telephoto camera into the arena unless I had been ‘okayed’ by the rodeo association. “We’ve had ‘groups’ come in a take pictures of the livestock, then use those photos to cause trouble, including suing the Association, claiming the animal’s were being injured and killed for the sake of competition.”
Needless to say, it bugged me to be turned away. But not easily dissuaded, I walked off and then spent the next few minutes concealing my camera inside my rain slicker.
Approaching the gate again, I saw that the gate-staff had changed, showed my ticket and waltzed through like nothing ever happened. After making the circuit through the displays of crafts and wears, I headed for my seat in the grandstands.
While sitting there, I got to thinking about how the Reno Rodeo has changed since I first went in 1988. It’s gotten more expensive to attend and much harder to park in or around the grounds, yes, but I’m thinking more towards “your business ain’t none of my business.”
No one’s allowed to smoke on the grounds, this includes outside behind the chutes, although chew and snuff are okay. Furthermore, you cannot legally ‘carry-open’ or ‘carry-conceal’ a firearm on the grounds, even though in past years there have been some gang-shootings near the arena.
And now, no telephoto cameras. Yes, you can have a camera – a point-and-shoot or a cellphone to take a few ‘selfies’ or a video of the happenings in the arena, but nothing more.
My suspicion is that with the coming of a new rodeo facility, walk-thru metal detector’s are going to be installed so what I did can never happen again. That mean’s I need to find a good point-and-shoot camera if I’d ever like to go again for photos.
Anyway, I sat and stewed on this for about an hour, moving from disappointed to angry to disappointed again, and by the time the show kicked-off, neither my heart nor my head were in the game. In fact, I had been so preoccupied by how ‘my business was now the rodeo’s business,’ that I failed to check my shutter-speed.
It was too slow for the nighttime conditions and the distance from which I had to shoot, creating a mess of massive blur in nearly every frame. In the end, I got so caught up in the rodeo’s business that forgot to pay attention to my business.